Steven Johnson's recent blog entry, "Research As You Go," comes with several gems for MA in Written Communication graduate students. He considers the relationship between writing and learning more as you venture more deeply into your research.
I do relish the research period before you start actually writing in earnest: you’re just sitting around, sifting through books and articles, following links, and playing detective. There’s something wonderfully open-ended about it, without the actual pressure of having to produce your own words. (This is why it’s such a seductive procrastination device.) But as much as I enjoy it, I have learned the hard way that you are never done with your research. Waiting around for the research phase to be complete is a recipe for infinite postponement.
An MA project is complex; drafting will inevitably include discovery along the way. Johnson contends that actively writing provides those serendipitous discoveries with a place to settle into the in-progress project. And although many of us are already aware of this--the interdependence of reading and writing--his reminder is pointed, engaging, and well-timed with the start of the new academic year at EMU.